Run Refugio Frey, Grayl Water Filters, and Tackle a Via Ferrata in the Dolomites
Run of the Month
If you're looking for a relatively mellow, medium distance mountain run with a spectacular destination, the run to Refugio Frey delivers. The route starts at Villa Cerro Catedral at the base of the ski area just outside of Bariloche in the Nahuel Huapi National Park in the Lakes District of Argentinian Patagonia. Starting off as an exposed rolling singletrack with lakeside views, it begins climbing after two miles through a forest of dense lengua trees found all over this region of Patagonia. After you ascend above the tree line, spectacular views unfold of the Frey’s famous granite spires seen from the lakeside Refugio Frey. Grab some mate, an alfajor, or homebrew (they brew their own beer!) while enjoying the spectacular surroundings before staying the night (reservations necessary during high season) or heading back.
Make it an out and back for 10 miles total, or 5.5 miles one way. Check out the FATMAP gpx route and elevation profile of the route to Refugio Frey from Villa Cerro Catedral and check out the link below for more favorite runs in Patagonia.
Let's chat water purifiers for traveling. While there are a ton of water purifying options for backpacking, it's tough to find a water purifier that works in the backcountry and also replaces the simplicity and ease of a handy Nalgene bottle (and removes the need for endless single use plastic bottle purchases!).
Marketed as the minimalist adventure tool, Grayl's water bottles seem to do the trick and we love its simple setup and wide range of uses. Simply fill up the Grayl with unpurified water, press the filter down (much like you would a coffee press) and you've got clean drinking water. We put the new Geopress model to the test in South America in the 24 ounce size. Between gas station sinks, rivers, and alpine lakes, this simple setup did the trick. According to Grayl's website, their bottles protect from global waterborne pathogens (virus, bacteria, protozoan cysts), pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, and even microplastics. You get about 300 uses per filter before you need to replace them. Check them out!
Looking to take your mountain running and hiking up a level on the technical scale to include and steep mountain ascents on rock? If so, we're recommending the via ferrata, Italian for iron path. Perhaps there's no more place appropriate that the via ferrata laden terrain of the Dolomites, where some of these protected climbing routes were used by troops in World War I where the Austrians and Italians fought over the border in Dolomites. Others, such as the ferrata up the West ridge of the Marmolada, dates back to 1903!
These protected climbing routes include ladders and cables bolted into the rock. To tackle a ferrata, we recommend choosing one based on grade and location. Cicerone's Via Ferrata's of the Italian Dolomitesprovides a great description of difficulty, length, and location. Companies such as Petzl and CAMP make their own via ferrata setups, which consist of a lanyard attached to a caribiner used in conjunction with a harness and other equipment, such as gloves, a helmet, and rock shoes. You can of course join a guided group tour as well. No technical climbing experience is necessary.
Can you guess which ferrata is pictured in the photo above, which rises almost 800m from the valley floor? If you look closely you can see the bolted cable leading to the trail in the left of the photo. Interested in trying one out before or after a Dolomites Runcation? Get in touch!